Thoughts on Recent Hashtag Controversies

You can learn a lot on Tumblr.  Or, if you’re like me and still don’t have a Tumblr, the Tumblr stuff that makes its way to Pinterest.  For someone who sucks at current events (I still don’t know who/what/where Benghazi is), it can be quite an education in social justice issues plaguing our world.  The most popular posts tend to contain multiple viewpoints, usually quite reasonable (in my opinion).  But the quality of these posts is not the point.  The point is a particular issue and my personal experience with it.

My sister, who just got a Tumblr, showed me the #YesAllWomen hashtag a few weeks ago, and I started reading some of the articles, blog posts, and general responses it’s generated so far.  Some of them were inspiring.  Some were repulsive.  Some were just dumb.

But others were frightening.

Not frightening in that I suddenly felt threatened by some idiot on a commenting power trip saying he would rape every woman who subscribed to these ideas (although there were comments to that effect).  Frightening in the sheer number of men who truly believe this isn’t their problem.  They went on the defensive, creating the hashtag that #YesAllWomen was responding to.  The reigning sentiment seems to be, “I’m a nice guy.  I’m not going to rape or assault anyone.  I’m not bothering you.  So my part is done.”

My response to them, in words frequently attributed to Albert Einstein, is this:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

 

I, myself, was reminded just how incredibly lucky I am a few weeks ago.  Like many girls in our society, I grew up believing that I was not sexy enough, and that failing or succeeding in this regard was incredibly important.  (This was not my parents’ doing – they were wonderful – but it’s hard to ignore society on the word of two grown-ups who don’t seem to be doing too well in the way of love themselves.)  Now that I’m in a relationship, I’m still struggling to let go of seeing myself that way, even subconsciously, even though my boyfriend initiates conversations about consent and making sure I know he does not believe he deserves physical pleasure from me, whether we “usually” do it or not.

This cultural double standard (which cheats boys too, by the way, but that’s a topic for another day) affects all of us.  Those of us in relationships, those of us who are single.  All of us with our varying beauties, inner demons, sexuality, beliefs, education, experiences, etc.  And I’m only just starting to learn how many people don’t seem to know that.

I wish I had a more conclusive way to end this, but I don’t have a solution.  I don’t have any ideas.  I just know that it’s important to think about these things.

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